× UK PoliticsWorld PoliticsVideosPrivacy PolicyTerms And Conditions
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Campaign Throwback: 'The Economy, Stupid'


This is the first installment of the 538 Politics podcast mini-series, “Campaign Throwback.” Across three episodes, we're taking a look back at campaign tropes from past elections such as, “it’s the economy, stupid,” or “soccer moms” or that question about which candidate you’d rather share a beer with. We’ll ask where those tropes came from, whether they were actually true at the time and if they still hold up today.

Our first installment: “It’s the economy, stupid.” It's a trope that dates back to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. Clinton's chief strategist at the time, James Carville, had three main messages for his staff to remember: 1) Change vs. more of the same 2) The economy, stupid, and 3) Don't forget about healthcare. The second message was memorialized in a 1993 documentary about the Clinton campaign called "The War Room," and has taken on a life of its own in the field of election analysis. But is it accurate?